feeling great today! yesterday was my first "A" race of the year. i have been building every week leading up to this weekend and last week was really the first true tapered week. I only had about 6 hrs of ride time in the 5 days leading up to the race...i was nervous but have faith that coach knows best.
the weekend was great...brad had booked us a cabin about 8 minutes away from the race area so traveling to and fro wasn't an issue. B and I decided to leave out Friday midday so that Saturday was nice and chill...and chill it was. We got to the cabin Fri night about 9p and just relaxed and hit the sac early. Saturday morning greeted us with temps in the mid 60's and plenty of sun! B and i went to the NOC and ate breakfast at the River's End...blueberry pancakes were the fuel of choice for the day, and they were good stuff! afterwards, we headed out to the trail for a pre ride and to test the legs...by mid ride, i was pleasantly surprised that the hardest climb had been cut out this year...being the flatlander that i am, i loved the change. the course was fast and fun!
we also ran into our father and son combo...george and jerry...and invited them to stay at the cabin and join us for some grub at the local Italian restaurant...they accepted and we had a fun, very chill evening.
morning of the race...i started off with some fresh brewed coffee and a couple of beagles and honey to get the body going...i was feeling good, well rested, well feed, and ready to go! B and I relaxed around the cabin till about 10a, then we packed up and headed out to the trails. We had to set out the self feeders up in the feed zone which was about a 20 min walk round trip so by the time we got back, it was time to get suited up and start the warm up process. I rolled up the paved drive for my warm up...about 14 min of easy spinning then added a few short efforts to top off the 25 min warm up...headed over to the start line and waited for the gun to go off...after a huge pro group went, then the cat 1 seniors, then us...3, 2, 1...GO!!! We were off...the start was mild going up the climb but got rolling pretty good just before the single track...i entered the woods in 5th place...perfect! after about a mile, the front man pulled off and the 4 of us went around him...but that 4 man group quickly split into 2x 2 man groups...2 leaders then the 2 man group i was in...we stayed steady all thru the 1st 13.5 mile loop and actually bridged up to the leaders just as we came thru the transition area...immediately the 2 leaders put in an attack and gaped us. James(the other guy) and I went back to work...now the game begins...he was climbing way better than me...each time we would hit the water bar climb, he would gap me, but I would bridge up on the downhills and tight single track...so I knew, if I was going to beat him to the finish I was going to have to have some time on him once we hit the finishing spur...there was a nasty, steep and technical climb that also was followed a triple step up jeep road climb...so, as the end of the 2nd 13.5 mile loop started to get closer, i could tell that James was slowing so I decided to throw down an attack about a mile before the end of the 2nd loop...i slowly pulled away from him...not much but a little bit every second. I made my way to the last challenge of the day...the last climb! everyone was walking it...i didn't try to do any different...i jumped off and tried to run....whoops...the legs didn't agree with that decision...both quads immediately started to cramp and lock up...not too bad, but bad enough to hurt and remind me what cramps felt like! I mustered up some strength to get back on the bike and push through the cramps and pain...i just kept telling myself...stay strong, almost there...by this time, i couldn't see the dude behind me, so I just kept moving forward...I also knew that if i finished i would be posting my best result as a Cat 1 at the SERC....and that's how it ended...3rd place!
What a fantastic feeling afterwards...i just sat there smiling...no one to celebrate with, no one to talk about the ride/race, but the overwhelming feeling of joy and satisfaction was enough! I can only hope that i can keep building on this fitness and form and carry it until Oak Mtn.